Dec 15 2017

Istanbul removes Gülen’s name from streets

The Istanbul city council has decided to rename 103 streets, several of which have Gülen movement-affiliated names, Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported.

The Turkish government blames U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen for masterminding the failed July 2o16 coup d’état, and considers his network of followers, known as Gülen movement, as a “terrorist organisation.” Gülen condemns the coup attempt and denies any involvement.

25 streets in Istanbul had the name “Gülen”, which literally means “Smiling” in Turkish, Hürriyet said. They were renamed after soldiers and police officers killed during the fight with Kurdish insurgent group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Gülen Boulevard in Eyüp district were renamed after “Martyr Ömer Halisdemir” who was killed by putschists on the night of the coup attempt.

Besides Gülen, names and brands affiliated with his movement were also changed.

A street named after former Turkish national football team captain Hakan Şükür, who was elected to parliament as a member of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), but resigned after the Gülen–Erdoğan fall out in 2013, was removed.

The street has been renamed after “Martyr Halil Kantarcı,” an Islamist activist who was killed by soldiers in the Üsküdar district during the failed coup.

Streets with generic names which had been used by Gülen-affiliated media companies were also changed, Hürriyet reported.

Names such as “Zaman” (time), which was the name of a movement-affiliated newspaper, “Samanyolu” (Milky Way), a TV channel, “Sızıntı” (leak) and “Aksiyon” (action), which were magazines, and “Cihan” (universe), the movement’s news agency, were changed. Even “Dumanlı” (misty) street was renamed for evoking the name of Zaman’s former chief editor Ekrem Dumanlı.

Besides Gülen-affiliated street names, a street named “Kandil” (oil lamp) was also renamed for evoking the “[PKK] terror organisation” which is based in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.

Names like “Yuvarlak” (circle, a Turkish slang for gays) and “Zenne” (traditional male dancers in woman’s clothes) were renamed after deemed immoral by the city council, Hürriyet said, along with “Harem”, “Aşkım” (my love), “Kadeh” (wine glass), “Kısrak” (mare), and “Gazino” (club).